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Why Should Non-Profits Design Their Communications Strategies with Cultural Differences in Mind?

Updated on October 30, 2017

Culture is defined as the way of life of a group of people. It encompasses the way they dress, sing, dance, among others. One of the key characteristics of successful non-profits lies in their ability to communicate their message effectively to their constituents. According to data gleaned from the Institute of Medicine, it is estimated that over 11% (31 million) of the U.S population is foreign born. Therefore, a non-profit desiring to build and nurture relationships that results in positive outcomes should aim at developing an effective communication strategy that takes cultures into account.

People from various cultures have unique ways of viewing issues/incidents that influences their realities. For instance, individuals belonging to high-context cultures(Asians, Native Americans, Latin and African Americans) tend to use indirect communication styles and focus less on verbal interactions. On the other hand, individuals belonging to low-context cultures (mostly Anglo-European Americans) employ a direct communication style and focus more on verbal interactions. With that said, certain colors can also evoke strong emotions among individuals of one cultural group whereas the same colors will have little to no effect on individuals from a different cultural group.

Owing to these nuances, it is essential for a non-profit to tailor its' message and branding materials with the culture of its' target audience/constituency in mind. Decisions on factors such as colors, images and symbols used should be carried out with their cultural underpinnings in mind. Failure of non-profits to develop a communications strategy that incorporates linguistically and culturally appropriate messages will result in a rejection of its message. Another unwelcome effect will be the negative perception that its' brand might develop.

There are many resources that a non-profit can utilize to ensure the delivery of thoughtful, timely and culturally sensitive messaging to its constituents. Also, nonprofits can reach out to communications specialists at SNAB Global Development who can help them in the design of their communications materials.

Beyond Culture . Edward T. Hall, 1976, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc
Race, Ethnicity & Language Data. Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement. Retrieved September 18th from‚Äč

© 2017 Sherita Brace


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